Un-Mapping Gay Imperialism: A Postcolonial Approach To Sexual Orientation-Based Development


Gay imperialism
international development
human rights

How to Cite

Ali, M.-U. A. (2017). Un-Mapping Gay Imperialism: A Postcolonial Approach To Sexual Orientation-Based Development. Reconsidering Development, 5(1). Retrieved from https://pubs.lib.umn.edu/index.php/reconsidering/article/view/907


The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s (ILGA) annual report on lesbian and gay rights worldwide, first published in 2005, marked the entry of Western lesbian and gay movements into the realm of international development. By combining (anti)homophobia and human rights discourses, ILGA’s subsequent reports have provided a platform from which to advocate for global lesbian and gay equality. A postcolonial critique of ILGA’s 2015 report, however, suggests that these discourses are used to mask both imperial desires of domination, as well as Orientalist views characterized by racist representations of people from places considered “persecution” states. This approach to (anti)homophobia and human rights-based discourses provides an understanding of sexual orientation-based development as gay imperialism. Using Somalia (an ILGA “persecution” state) as a case study, this paper explores the complex ways in which racism and imperialist desires permeate (anti)homophobia and human rights discourses.


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